Provencial Summer Stew

This stew is awesome. It’s light and filling at the same time. It’s a flexible recipe too, so use whatever vegetables you have. Tomatoes aren’t ripe yet here, so I used some frozen from last summer. This is best after a long simmer and will be even better the next day.

Provence Summer Stew
Adapted from Allrecipes

1 eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup brown rice
1 medium zucchini, cut into large chunks
2-4 sweet peppers, chopped (I used 2 bell peppers and 2 sweet anaheims)
4 tomatoes, diced (about 4 cups)
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 Tbs Herbes de Provence
1 Tbs white wine vinegar

Place eggplant in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes. Rinse eggplant and pat dry. Add the eggplant to the pot of onions and cook until slightly browned, about another 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and saute for a few more minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic! Stir in the rice, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, broth, herbes de provence, salt and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture reaches a low boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for an hour and a half. Mix in the vinegar just before serving.

Everyday Eats: Super Spiced Turkey with Zucchini & Curry Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

This may seem like more of the same (ground turkey and greens again?!), but when I simplify my meals to protein, fruit, and vegetables, the end results may seem similar, but the flavors never get boring. I start with what is at the farmers market, filling in with what I can depend on at the grocery store, and keep my pantry filled with exciting spices, oils, and healthy condiments (sauerkraut! mustard! capers!). Roasting vegetables once a week and then making big batches of meat, poultry, or fish every few days makes building meals at home and grabbing food to go super easy. These are two separate recipes, but I made them both tonight to be stored and eaten in the next couple days. The turkey was awesome over greens with guacamole and cilantro for dinner. Tomorrow, I’ll have more with my eggs. Curry chicken and sweet potatoes for lunch and as a second lunch again after the gym. There will be something new for dinner tomorrow night, but it’s great to know I’ve already provided healthy, filling options for my other meals for a couple days.

This ground turkey recipe is my go-to for the best flavor that can go a hundred ways: in lettuce wraps, on salad, with eggs, on any roasted veg, and really, as is.

Super Spiced Turkey with Zucchini
Adapted from Macheesmo

1 pound ground turkey
1 Tbs coconut or olive oil
1 jalapeno, chopped
2 sweet anaheim, poblano, or bell peppers
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp coriander, ground
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbs coconut aminos, Braggs, or soy sauce
1 cup zucchini, shredded or finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil, jalapeno, peppers, and garlic. Saute until fragrant and just starting to brown. Mix ground spices and coconut aminos with ground turkey. Add turkey to the pan of peppers and cook for a couple minutes before adding the zucchini. Stir well and cook until the turkey is well browned and cooked through, about ten minutes total. Season with salt and pepper.


Curry Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 Tbs coconut oil
1 heaping tsp garam masala
1 heaping tsp yellow curry powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 cups plain, roasted sweet potatoes, also bite sized

Combine the cut up chicken breasts in a bowl with the salt and spices. Mix well. Over medium heat in a heavy skillet, cook the seasoned chicken in the oil until cooked through, about 10-12 minutes, stirring often. Once cooked, add the pre-roasted sweet potatoes and mix well to combine. Store in pint sized glass jars for the perfect, on the go meal!

No Sugar Added – Peach Blueberry Cobbler

I’m preparing to give up sugar and sugar substitutes in August. My sweet tooth is a bit out of hand and I’d like to enjoy my 30th birthday cake (!!) in September without the nagging internal dialogue about my sugar consumption. So, the guideline I’m giving myself  is: If it’s sweet and it’s not a fruit or a vegetable, pass. Doesn’t sound too hard, right? Just tell that to the ice cream and chocolate cake I’ve been loving on this week. But with a recipe like this, sweet only from the summer height of fruit, I know I can do it. 

Peach Blueberry Cobbler
Adapted from Homestead Revival

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon (divided)
1/4 tsp. salt
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) butter, cold and diced in 1/2″ squares
2/3 cup plain yogurt
2 eggs
1/4 cup quick tapioca
6 cups fresh or frozen peaches (thawed if frozen, with juice. add 3/4 cup water if using fresh)
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (thawed if frozen)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a saucepan over medium high heat, combine the tapioca, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and fruit. My thawed peaches had a lot of juice. Be sure to add 3/4 cup water to the mix if you’re using fresh. Bring to a boil, stirring well, and remove from heat when it begins to thicken. Put the fruit mixture into a 9″x13″ pan* and set aside. In another bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, the other 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and salt. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or fork until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is well distributed. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and yogurt. Add to the butter/flour mix and stir until combined. Spoon the dough in dollops over the fruit and place in the preheated oven to bake for 35-45 minutes, until the dough is cooked through and the fruit is bubbling. Cool for a bit before serving.

*I didn’t have quite enough fruit for this recipe, so I scaled it back a bit in proportion and put it in an 8″x8″ pan. It overflowed some and the dough was thick because it couldn’t spread out more. Use the 9″x13″ for sure!

Roasted Veg – Sweet Potatoes, Beets, Cauliflower

The farmers market down the road is open with the first colors of the harvest. Hooray! It’s such a treasure to have inexpensive, very local, farm fresh produce to pick from so conveniently.

This week I roasted two sweet potatoes, a bunch of beets, and two heads of cauliflower.

For the sweet potatoes, I peeled them, chopped them into bite sized pieces, coated them in olive oil, and spread them out on a baking sheet, uncovered.

For the beets, I washed them and put them whole on a baking sheet with a bit of water, and covered them in foil.

For the cauliflower, I washed them, diced the florets into similar sizes, and tossed them with a couple cloves of minced garlic, 2 Tbs melted butter, and 2 Tbs olive oil.

They all went into the oven at 400 degrees. I stirred the sweet potatoes and cauliflower after 15 minutes. The cauliflower was done in 25 minutes and the sweet potatoes were done after 30. The smaller beets roasted for 40 minutes and the large ones took an hour. Once cool, I store the veg in glass jars in the refrigerator. The sweet potatoes were kept plain. The cauliflower was tossed with a half teaspoon of nutmeg, 2 Tbs lemon juice, and a good shake of salt. Once the beets were cool, I wiped their skins off, chopped them in wedges, and tossed them with a couple tablespoons of white wine vinegar. SO GOOD!

All are kept well in the refrigerator for 5-7 days, if I can make them last that long. Last night I ate the cauliflower with turkey loin and today’s lunch was cottage cheese with the beets. Yum!

Turkey Tomato Sauce Over Roasted Zucchini

This isn’t a recipe, it’s just dinner. Yum. I never miss pasta when squash is in season.

Turkey Tomato Sauce

1 onion, chopped
1 Tbs olive or coconut oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 pepper of any heat, chopped (I used a sweet anaheim)
1 lb ground turkey
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 Tbs dried thyme
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chicken or turkey broth
2 – 6 oz cans tomato paste
2 – 15 oz cans diced tomatoes

In a large skillet or wide saucepan over medium heat, saute the onion in the oil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped pepper and garlic and cook for another few minutes. Add the turkey to the pan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and stirring well until it’s cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Add the seasonings, worcestershire, broth, tomato paste, and diced tomatoes, stirring well. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over roasted zucchini.

Roasted Zucchini

2 medium zucchini
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a cutting board, slice the zucchini in half lengthwise and dice in 1/2″ wedges. Put a piece of foil or parchment paper on a lipped baking sheet and put the zucchini pieces on top. Drizzle with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Mix the zucchini up to evenly coat and distribute in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. To serve, put a heap of zucchini on a plate and top with Turkey Tomato Sauce and fresh chopped parsley.

Workout – Shoulders, Chest, Back

M drove all the way out to the country to go to the gym with me today because I have a hard time doing the weights for my upper body by myself. He’s terribly helpful with my form and adapting exercises for my needs. He pushes me rather hard, but is full of positive reinforcement. We were there for two excruciating hours and I’m still sore from my leg work yesterday.

I love it.

Tuesday, June 24 Workout
(The weight in parenthesis is where I’m at. Be sure to determine your own weight before you start the reps.)

  • Reverse fly 3 x 15 (two – 12 lbs)
  • Bent over row 3 x 15 (single 45 lbs)
  • Cable reverse fly 3 x 45 (15 parallel to ground, 15 low to high, 15 high to low) (at 10 lbs)
  • One arm dumbbell shrugs 3 x 20 each side (20 lbs)
  • Straight arm front dumbbell raises 3 x 15 (two – 10 lbs)
  • Two arm dumbbell shrugs 3 x 15 (single 40 lbs)
  • Dumbbell lat raises 3 x 10 (two – 5 lbs)
  • Pec fly machine 4 x 10 (at 30 lbs)
  • Assisted pull ups 3 x 10 (at 100 lbs help)
  • Assisted dips 3 x 10 (at 80 lbs help)

**I’m not going to be keeping my workouts here anymore, since I’m using dailymile now. Join me there!

Workout – for longer gym time

I usually only have an hour to get in and out of the gym between work and getting Aurelia from school. I am going out of town this week, so my work schedule is different, offering me a longer time than usual in the gym. I dropped Aurelia off for a couple hours and was able to take my time with this workout, varying the exercises, and combining weights with a run on the treadmill. Oh, what I could do with two hours in the gym more often!

Monday, June 23 Workout
(The weight in parenthesis is where I’m at. Be sure to determine your own weight before you start the reps.)

Smith squats 3 x 15 (115 lbs)
Smith calf raises 3 x 30 (10 toes straight/10 toes turned in/10 toes turned out) (115 lbs)
Smith lunges 3 x 20 (95 lbs)

Rope push downs 3 x 15 (@ 35 lbs)
Standing dumbbell tricep extensions 3 x 15 (20 lbs)

Abdominal pendulum on bench 3 x 15
Decline sit ups 3 x 15

Treadmill 3 miles (run 10 minutes, walk 1 minute, repeat 3 times, walk 1:30 to finish) 34:30 minutes

Better Breakfast – Soaked Oatmeal

I don’t have a goal weight. I have a goal strength, a goal health, and a goal outlook.  When I was trying to lose weight in the past, I had to be careful not to consume too much. Now that I’m running and lifting and being all sorts of proud of myself, I have to be careful to make sure I’m eating enough to fuel my workouts and boost my metabolism. A few nights in the past week, I’ve woken around 3 in the morning absolutely famished. M says this is because I’ve built up some muscle that is working even while I’m sleeping and that I need to eat more often. I like the sound of that very much.

I have been eating an egg or an egg with some meat each morning. The protein is awesome and free range, happy chicken eggs are quite near being the perfect food. But it seems that I need more and more often. Usually, I should probably just eat another egg. But I’m working on this sweet-tooth, carb-craving problem and what I really want is cereal. Boxed cereal is not food. It’s a food-like-product and is no way to start your day. I do believe that the less grains we eat, the better, as long as we are replacing that food with vegetables, fruit,  meat, eggs, and good fats. But I’m not grain free and I’m trying to reduce my consumption in a gentle way.

Traditional cultures where grains were consumed regularly or in large amounts found ways to reduce the harmful components of grains through methods like soaking, sprouting and fermenting. These methods are designed to do what our body can’t and break down the anti-nutrients (gluten, lectin, phytic acid, etc) in grains so that they are more digestible to humans. Evidence shows that these methods do indeed make the nutrients in grains much more bioavailable and reduce the anti-nutrient properties. (Wellness Mama)

So my compromise at this point, in an effort to eat more and make better choices, is oatmeal! The traditional oats have made an appearance on this blog before, no doubt. But this is an improvement. Give the simple recipe a shot, make sure to eat it with a protein to help prevent a blood sugar spike and to slow down the rate the carbs are broken down, reducing the chance for them to be stored as fat. Besides, protein will satiate you best, so the carbs should always be second fiddle if they’re playing at all.

This recipe is basic and is supposed to make two servings. I had no trouble eating the whole thing, along with my egg, so I’m calling it one serious serving. I had maple syrup out and had intended to use it, but I was smart for a second enough to taste before adding it. I was so pleasantly surprised – this needs no sweetener. It has a mild tang from the fermentation and the coconut and cinnamon were just lovely and sweet tasting enough. Topping it with a bit of plain Greek yogurt made it even creamier and gives another protein boost. Hours later and I’m still quite full. I’m afraid it’s going to make me run a little longer today, too.

Soaked Oatmeal
Adapted from Nourishing Traditions

1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal (not quick cooking)
1 cup water, divided
2 Tbs buttermilk, sour milk, kefir, or plain yogurt
2 Tbs shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/8 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbs plain Greek yogurt

Combine the oatmeal, 1/2 cup water, and sour milk in a bowl or jar. Stir, cover, and let sit on the counter overnight, preferably at least 12 hours. In the morning, pour the contents of the jar directly into a small pot and add 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often until thickened. Add coconut and cinnamon, if using, and stir well. Spoon into a bowl, top with yogurt if you’d like, and serve.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

This is extraordinary… healthy, crowd friendly, delicious, and easy. I doubled the recipe to take most to a potluck. The flavor is bright and summery. I had a big bowl tonight with a cold, sliced chicken breast I baked Friday. Thank heaven for leftovers and summer salad dinners.

Quinoa Tabbouleh
Adapted from Bon Appetit, June 2012

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well (extra credit if you soak it overnight)
1 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, and cut into 1/4″ pieces
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or 2 large tomatoes, cut into 1/4″ pieces
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint


Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice and garlic in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Spread out quinoa on a large rimmed baking sheet; let cool. Transfer to the large bowl with dressing and mix. Add cucumber, tomatoes, and herbs to bowl with quinoa; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.